Thursday, October 30, 2008

It must have happened some day! / The Podzio Show

There was a great chance on Saturday to fulfil the everlasting aim to beat Pasza at the PoZnO competition as I started only 2 minutes behind him. I decided to push really hard from the very beginning. The first time I saw Piotruś were the surroundings of the 3rd control - he was leaving it while I had some 50m to reach it. The similar situation took place at the 4th control and then the deciding control no. 5 came! Unfortunately, it was situated in the wrong place and the competition became a bit unjust... Afterwards we motivated each other to run faster and faster. I led to the next 3 (and a half;]) controls. Then my legs became a bit too heavy to gain a satisfying speed after such a tough beginning and Pasza was the one to follow...
Our performance wasn't obviously amazing but I managed to make my eternal dream come true :-) I hope it's gonna happen more often in the future!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

On Monday, October 27th, the 10-person Relay Secondary School Championships of Łódź were held in a small park in Stoki district. I had ran there twice(?) so far. However, the track was considerably different this time... to my advantage. I could choose between the first and tenth leg. Of course I took the last one!
Although we didn't start incredibly (17th place after the 1st run), the next 3-5 legs managed to get to the top 6 very close to the podium. After the magnificent 7th leg we were already on the podium places! The following two runners made it to the 2nd place. Then it was me to start...

I hadn't really expected such a stunning performance of my schoolmates. I knew very well that they rested their hopes in me and I just couldn't let them down. The first place was just impossible to reach as the loss of time was too huge. Everyone expected a real struggle for the silver medal because I started only some 3 seconds ahead of the 3rd-place runner. I decided to speed up as much as possible to make the guy tired. I must admit I had a wonderful day and when some mild slopes came, my advantage was getting bigger and bigger. On the last meters I could even afford a small show trotting and waving with the baton cheerfully to my friends. It was an amazing while for me. I wished it had lasted forever! I felt like a great hero! ;-)
If you asked for the key to success, I'd certainly answer it was an unbelievably equal team. The difference between the worst (3:24) and the best (3:06) time was only 18 seconds. To be more precise and end this note, the distance was said to amount to 990m.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The greatest EVER O-competition in Łódź!

It was really wonderful. We all gathered on Saturday and Sunday (hosting runners from Warsaw, Gdynia and Ireland!) to actively celebrate the officialy named End of the 2008 Season. It consisted of ŁOZBnO Championships in Microsprint and Middle and mixed pair sprint relays. The organizers did their best to make the participants enjoy these races... and they did manage!

Microsprint (qualification, semifinal and final)
It is not a secret I wanted to win this competition very much because I really like this original type of orienteering and feel quite good at it.
The qualification race just had to go smoothly as we had only 6 runners in M18 class and 4 of these were to get to the next round. Only 2 of us made a clean race. Comparing to the whole series of Saturday's microsprint races, I had the least mistakes but ran slowest.
In the semifinal I had to face a real challenge as all the men's classes had been combined. As many as 21 runners took part. In this stage only 6 best men were allowed to the final. Somehow I succeeded in placing among them ;-)
In the final I was the last one to start. My legs were the fastest this time but I had an unpleasant meeting with a beater on my way to the 2nd control. Despite that fact I won this exciting race and fulfilled my high expectations. I would also like to add the cheering was magnificent!
There is only one thing I wish had happened: if they had changed the controls between the races, it would have been much funnier, more difficult and challenging.

Just a short break and the relays came. However not the usual ones, they were sprint in mixed pairs including 4 legs (1st and 3rd for a girl, 2nd and 4th for a boy). I ran with Gwoździu.
She made a good job of the first leg and let me start as the second to fight on the second leg. I caught Chrupek already on the way to the very beginning control as he made a huge mistake while crossing the start gate - he took the wrong (left) direction. Although I had the longest possible forking on control no. 5, I managed to come fastest to the finish. Ewa did her best on the next leg to give me a chance to fight for the victory. I was the first one to start for the last leg, nevertheless, only some seconds ahead of Zielu. We had talked about our previous race during the break and I was sure he was now going to have the long forking I had on the 2nd leg. I was safely leading to the 5th control (the forked one) and suddenly saw him punch the same control! I got really confused and made a considerable mistake to the following control. He did not miss the chance and immediately took the lead. On our way to the deciding controls I thought about this year's Tiomila last leg's finish and the exciting struggle between Wingstedt and Hubmann. The latter let Emil lead very long on the tiring finish but eventually took the victory on the last 150 meters. It became a kind of inspiration for me and I just had no other way! I managed and thanks to 4 fast and more or less clean races Ewa and I won the competition in WM18+ class.
In the end it turned out that Gosia and Zielu were disqualified for missing one control...
To sum it all up, it was a fantastic, splendid, excellent, marvellous, wonderful and gorgeous idea to organize such a competition! I hope it was NOT the last opportunity to take part in something like that.

The Saturday's races were over now and Jolka & Jacek took the chance of visiting Manufaktura. Undoubtedly, they enjoyed it very much. But to the point, after quite a good together sleep it came time for the middle distance competition. I must admit the course was very well-prepared. Unfortunately, I can't say the same about the map... It really needs to be precisely actualized! If my own race is concerned, I made lots of mistakes - some of them were the map's fault, some mine. In any case it was not my day, though I succeeded in taking the first place in my class.

That weekend 6 races meant 6 successes =)

A few memories from the weekend ;-)

The provincial end of the 2008 season took place in the popular 'Bar under the larch' last weekend. Thanks to Byczuk;* and Hanka;* I can present some video's from the Saturday's competition races.

microsprint - semifinal

microsprint - final, part 1

microsprint - final, part 2

mixed relay - finish of the 4th (last) leg

You can also watch these videos at youtube website:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

EYOC 2008 - the first and hopefully the second last

Yeah... I know it's been over a week after the EYOC 2008 now but I really had to catch up with my school subjects.

On Thursday we actually arrived in the competition centre - that is Wangen an der Aare. We slept in the 18-person rooms in the military unit. We also attended a model event this day. The map was fairly similar to the one I ran on during Orienteering Festival in Czech Republic this year. We all knew it was going to be much tougher technically, as well as physically the following day!

I am coming into the finish as fast as possible, the spectators are all screaming. I can hardly tell the difference between the Polish words and some other screamed in sophisticated languages. I am punching the 'finish', the time is 59:59. Yes, it's one second less than an hour! The winning time was predicted to be about 55 mins, so it can't be that poorly... It's been the 6th result so far. Only(?) 15 competitors more beat and overtook me and I ended on the 21st place. My Ministry of Sport assumption was to place between 1. and 24. As you can see I did manage! Nevertheless, this result would not please me that much if I had been in the e.g. April's shape. I mean MUCH better shape. But as for that day it was quite okay...
During the course I also had a really painful adventure. I was running downhill just behind the young French girl. Suddenly, she stumbled on one end of a tremendous branch (lying on the ground) and the other end went up hitting... my right groin! So close to my ... (Check the word groin to understand!)
Finally, I must say it was NOT that difficult and tiring I had thought it was supposed to be!

I had to wake up at 6 a.m. It was not the problem as I am quite accustomed to it but the first impression while leaving the building for breakfast was really frightening! It was extremely dark and the lower part of the fog was not higher than 1 meter above the ground... I just ate a small breakfast, prepared the things and jumped to the organizers' bus. In fact, what else could I do?! It was becoming brighter and brighter but the fog wasn't willing to fade out.
I must admit I was stressed a little about my performance before the start and went to Toi-Toi a little bit too late. Consequently my warm-up was TOO short and inaccurate. That's why I was told off by our headcoach.
On the first leg it is essential not to lose touch with the leaders at the first (usually forked) controls. I was fully concentrated and determined to do so and had an almost clear race to the 7th control. There some huge problems appeared:

The course-setter made an enormous forking at the 8th control while the 7th and 9th were the same or fairly similar. It's funny I saw the two other controls (8A&B) but got into trouble at the latter of them as I momentarily lost contact with the map and didn't know if it was the correct stream I was standing next to. I lost some time and had to catch up with the leaders quickly. I nearly managed and finished 8th 1'10 behind the Estonian runner.
Slavko had a really good race and crossed the finish line as the 6th one from the second leg. Rino was running with the Dane who took the bronze medal. Unfortunately, they made a different route choice. Moreover, while crossing the spectator's passage he was greatly exhausted and didn't manage to fight for the small podium.
I felt a bit disappointed but I do not blame anyone apart from me. If I had finished 30sec earlier, it could have been considerably different...

Sprint maps - not for me this time, maybe in a year.

All things considered, I had a great time in Switzerland. Our national team was really well-suited to each other this time and only thanks to this atmosphere we all managed to perform so well (5th place in Nation's Cup). I came back home with a head full of important conclusions and willing to train much harder to let my star shine bright in Serbian EYOC 2009 in July!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Short stay in Germany

When our ferry from Karlskrona arrived in Gdynia, we had some time to do the shopping in Tesco. Afterwards we moved to the surroundings of our trainer's home and packed both buses appropriately to survive this long journey. Kajo joined us then and we were absolutely ready to depart.
We reached the destination (Röttenbach) about midnight. We spent 2 nights in a Catholic house. All that gave me a great opportunity to try and improve my German. There was only one strange thing there: we could use showers in a nearby sports hall... only between 17 and 21!

One day we all met for a kind of an official meeting, during which we were bound to get to know which EYOC races we are going to take part in. I was sure to run the long distance, the relay squad hadn't been announced yet. Unfortunately, I was informed I was not going to take part in the sprint distance competition. I felt really upset and sorrowful. Was it the right decision? It's not me who should judge it...

We trained there a bit as well :-)

On Wednesday's afternoon another journey began - this time directly to Switzerland. We were divided into 2 buses: white one with W/M18 classes driven by Kajo and red one with W/M16 classes driven by our headcoach. It turned out I was extremely lucky to be in the white one!
On our way Hewi's phone suddenly rang and he heard something really unbelievable. Their bus started to burn! Yeah, believe me! Fortunately, Wels is a member of a volunteer fire brigade and managed to extinguish it easily. Nevertheless, this vehicle was of no use then and they had to change their car. They rented a 7-person (2 places missing!) automobile with almost no boot. They were packed like sardines and arrived over 4 hours after us in Solothurn.

Only 2 days to go now.......

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Another 3 days in Sweden this year

There were lots of discussions about the participation of Polish EYOC competitors in Baltic Junior Cup 2008 in Kalmar and Nybro as the very long and tiring journey followed it. However, it was not that bad. The Swedish terrain is the one I really enjoy! It was a nice opportunity to take delight in forests with a very good runnability before the coming Swiss blackberries and other difficulties which make every runner wanna cry.

Our journey began on Friday with a short flight from Warsaw. Unfortunately, there appeared some unexpected problems while landing. My tooth hurt so much that I was very close to bursting into tears.
Then we attended the model event course in Nybro. Pasza offered to run with me and see if my technique is satisfying enough. In spite of the fact that the map was really easy and quite poor in details, I didn't manage to avoid some silly mistakes. However, I was looking forward to run the following day.

On Saturday the long distance came. It was quite weird and surprising that all the starters on 14:00 were Poles: Wels, me and Jacek. I had a horrible race with over 10-minute mistakes. On the course I didn't think it was that disastrously! When I arrived at the finish, I got to know I lost almost 13 minutes to the leader. I was certain it was because of my weak legs after the long-lasting illness. In fact, terrible mistakes + not the best shape meant the third place... counting from the end!

In the evening the annual orienteering party during BJC was held. Each country was asked to prepare a short performance or game for the other countries. We organised an O-quiz consisting of 5 questions. Two of them sounded: 'Which control did Emil Wingstedt not punch during this year's World Orienteering Championships sprint distance race?' and 'How many spikes are there in one Integrator shoe?'. I wonder if you'd know... Personally, I took part in an egg-throwing competition with Drągu.

The next day we were to run the mixed relay [the rules for this kind of relay are fairly complicated; if you want to know how it is organised, visit BJC 2008 website] and especially the first leg runners (including me) were forced to get up very early, about 6 a.m. Each country was allowed to complete 5 relays. Our trainers decided to build one very strong team to fight for the victory and 4 equal teams with more or less the same possibilities. I was in the first of those 4 teams as my Saturday's performance was too bad to enter the best one. To the other first leg runners from Poland belonged Slavko, Patela, Hewi and Duduś. It was a really interesting race in a quite demanding and wonderful terrain. In the middle part of the course I was running with Slavko, who finished third. Unfortunately, I lost some time on the forking in the detailed stony area and didn't manage to catch up with him again. What's more, on the way to the very last control I jumped over the knoll and wasn't able to change my 'flying direction' and my tibia hit a sharp stone. I've become the lucky owner of 5mm deep wound!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Some interesting photos from EYOC at first...

where is Hewi?!
through the wooden bridge
clap your hands together!

eating what we just cooked...
a common view
boys' room shared with Irish guys...

dancing or orienteering???
an easy long? forget!
just after 8,5km course (375m climb)
in Eden...

just before the mass start
crossing the specator's passage
the correct map for Slavko;)


as the team leader during sprint;-P
in the finish arena

a long distance Polish star
an even brighter star!

a surprising award;*
you DID deserve it!
probably in seventh heaven...

sad? sweet? crying?
thoughtful and disappointed...
having FUN!